To understand what the object under your coil is you many use detectors that use the tone ID or the meters . Meters will give you their estimate of what is under the coil but you may have several items under the coil or the target may be out of the detector’s ID range and default to a lower reading. If you have no tone ID or meter on your machine you can use the tools that you do have like target profile and the discriminator to determine the most probable target. This has a drawback when you consider that some detectors will indicate all the objects under the coil by tone or mulitple readings.
Some hunters will spend most of their hunting time staring into the meter and moving the coil back and forth playing a game in their mind trying to see if they know what they will dig up. Other hunters only want to look at the ground as they move quickly to locate more targets. Most of those hunters who do not want to look at the machine at all will depend on a tone to tell them whether to dig or not. It really depends on what you want to hunt and how you want to do it. If you are content with fewer finds and enjoy the hunt then the meter is for you. If you hunt where you only have a very short time to dig and want to maximize the finds then you do not want to waste any time looking at a meter reading and waving the coil around then the tone ID is preferable. Some still perfer the earlier version detectors that use no meter or tone.
Some tone detectors will give an ID tone for each different item under the coil as you swing across it. For instance I often dig multiple objects and found that my machine identified them all correctly on a single pass. To me this represents a well working detector but it takes an understanding hunter to use it. So far the industry has only used frequency variation tones to identify targets with the exception of Garrett’s treasure talker master hunter which uses voice files which get terribly boring. I am beginning to think that the hunters need a machine that will offer a larger number of tone ID sounds and should not be limited to frequency variations. These should include soft tones that the user can identify easily and perhaps programmed by the user to satisfy those with limited hearing as myself. I think sometimes that it could use a leading sound or a trailing sound to indicate on what side of the tone ID the target is located and sounded together to give more accurate information. I cannot hear some tones but I can hear and identify certain sounds which are much more rich and easier to identify such as sounds we can recognize quickly. Sounds that could be programmed should include dozens of new target ID’s. More information could be passed to the hunter in less time than any other form of detector, however I have given some thought that a large bright three digit digital display could quickly read out the most accurate information. After the computerized detectors that we see today I have decided that the best may be a type of hybrid that uses an analog machine married to a digital readout. It would have to be a fast and accurate machine well balanced and hip mountable and using a waterproof meter.
Well the future aside, folks are always asking me where a certain target rings up or how to identify it if you have absolutely no meter or tone id. I use a 1266X with a 5 inch coil to coinshoot and find that it will work in trash and around it to locate good targets. You might ask how do I know what the target is if I have no tone or meter but there is a way on any machine.
Every time we venture into another field and try to find a new type of treasure we want to know how to find it. Beach hunters want to know how to tell where to locate gold rings and how they can identify them. On everyone’s machine using tone, meter, or no ID you can learn how to get a good idea what is under the coil.
When I use the 1266X I may get a beep that might be a good target or just more trash so to tell what it is that I have under the coil I can turn the discrimination or use the two discriminators which can be switched. I only flip the toggle switch back and forth to quickly get the range of the target. Then I will turn the discrimination up and down scale to see exactly where it begins to beep. I have most of the targets identified already and know quickly if I want to dig it. Sometimes as with all detectors there might be a larger deeper target so hold pinpoint and move the coil in an X across the target to tell me just how large it is. Now you have to have something to relate this to so put some different targets like coins on a patch of clean ground and move the coil in an X to size up each of them. Then it is very easy to tell the larger/deeper things. This may sound complicated but I can determine what the target is most of the time and do it in under 2 seconds. Tone ID is still much faster and the slowest is Meter machines.
Learn your machine’s ability to probe the trash iron like trash dumps or Civil war sites and you can use it effectively in any case. I went on my first Civil war relic hunt this year and had a bit of difficulty until I worked out the machine and target ID and then I was right most all the time. If you are ever going to hunt relics then I suggest that you take some typical relics found at a CW site and test them with your machine. For instance the large lead bullets show up as a coin ID but have a rather large target profile and at first I passed over some because I thought that they were too large and probably iron but after finding a few I got it down right. The uniform buttons generally show up in the lower range as pulltabs.
I get asked by people using the newer CZ machines where that gold rings will show up when all that is needed is to take the gold ring off their finger and try it. It depends on size, gold content, and shape and on the CZ machines that use the LED meter ID it can show up as square pulltab, round pulltab, or foil. I never had one show up as a nickel yet and the ladies small gold rings show up as foil but the larger gold rings show up as square pulltab and very few gold show up as round pulltab. Some of them depending on the alloy will indicate both coin and pulltab but not many of them. Like the gold coins the small ones are ID’ed as pulltab and then as the shape and size increases they may show up upscale.
In my mind, digging is preferable to ID’ing when a tin can might actually be a buried cache of gold.
While hunting the CW site I became aware of the differences in iron readings. I imagined, as most of you that iron should show up as iron but there is a big difference depending on alloy and how it was made. If it is cast and not the soft iron that ID’s under the iron ID then it may indicate a high reading like a coin. The old square nails just ID as iron every time on my CZ20 and since the site was dense with all kinds of targets I decided to turn off the discriminator and listen to the tune it was playing. Several times I was able to successfully identify multiple targets and interesting signals which had complex tones and they were nearly always good to dig.
Everyone has their level of tolerance when it comes to hunting in iron trash for good signals and some folks avoid the trash altogether. I have found that site quality defines my tolerance and if there are great finds in the garbage then I will take my time and even dig some deep, small iron signals which may be out of range goodies. If the ratio of trash to treasure is too high and the site is poor it is far better to locate a better site than to waste your time only to find two or three coins a trip.